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Patrick Swayze has penned an open letter in the Washington Post urging world leaders to help in the fight against cancer.

The 56-year-old was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2008 and wrote the letter to ask Congress to fund cancer research and give financial assistance to sufferers. He called for a $10 billion grant to go towards research and assistance on behalf of the National Institutes of Health.

“Ever since I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2008, I’ve been waging an intense, often hellacious battle… but I’m not alone,” wrote the star. "More than 1.4 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year. In the United States, one out of three women and one out of two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. Look around you; at one point or another, cancer will strike very close to home for everyone.

“Our individual battles should also be national ones. With Congress about to decide how much money to include for medical research as part of the economic stimulus package, the time has come to take my personal fight to a larger stage. My message to our senators and representatives is simple: Vote for the maximum funding to let the National Institutes of Health fight cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. It’s not only good for our nation’s health; it’s also good for our economic well-being. Medical research supports jobs and infrastructure.

“By advancing good health, it also enables Americans to reach their individual potential and contribute more to society.”

Swayze was hospitalized with pneumonia last month and is currently continuing with treatment for his cancer.

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